Taking care of your family is a lot of hard work. Feeding everyone. Making sure you, your spouse, and kids are healthy. Attending school events and extracurricular activities.
There’s a lot of responsibilities when it comes to raising a family. One of the best ways to protect your family is by making sure your finances are taken care of.
Having a stable financial foundation will allow you to save for college, your home, retirement, vacations, and so much more.
Managing finances can be confusing and overwhelming, especially with monthly utility, mortgage, and car payments. However, it’s important you know how to handle your finances to keep you and your family out of financial troubles. Below, we’ll go over how to handle your family’s finances so you can live your life worry-free.
Create a Budget
The best way to protect your family’s financial future is by creating a budget. A budget will allow you to determine how much you and your spouse earn and how much you spend month-to-month.
There are numerous budgeting apps you can take advantage of that will track every purchase you make. Each purchase will be placed in a category, such as groceries, restaurants, and so on.
With this information, you’ll be able to see where most of your money is going and what areas you can begin to cut back on. For example, if you notice most of your budget is going towards eating out at restaurants, try meal prepping and cooking dinner at home a few times a week.
If you want to create a budget yourself, follow these steps:
• Track your spending for six to twelve months by saving every receipt and documenting your spending each month
• Track your income each month, including your salary, money from stocks, gifts, and any other type of income
• Calculate your spending for each month
• Calculate your income for each month
• Determine if you’re spending more or less than you earn
• Look at trends and patterns to see where most of your income is going
• Devise a plan by creating limits for each category, such as clothes, food, entertainment, etc. for the months moving forward
• Stick to your plan and put your extra money in savings accounts
Get Out of Debt
The next step to handling your family’s finances is by getting out of debt. There are numerous forms of debt, such as student loans, mortgage, auto loan, and tax debt. For example, if you owe money to the IRS, you can enroll in an IRS Fresh Start program that will allow you to pay your debt over a longer period of time with a series of installments. Getting out of debt will allow you to become the master of your finances, so you can take control of your life.
Spend Less Than You Earn
Once you have your budget squared away and began paying off your debts, make a solid effort to spend less money than you earn. Raising a family is expensive. Cutting back wherever you can and storing that extra money in a high-interest savings account or the stock market will make paying for college or your children’s first car much easier.
This also means cutting back on credit card spending. If you have multiple credit cards, cancel them, so you only have one or two. This will force you to rely less on credit and make informed spending decisions. Because your financial well-being affects your happiness, taking control of your spending is not only smart but healthy as well.
Additionally, resist the temptation of making purchases you can’t afford. Sure, installing a slide for your inground pool may seem like a fun idea. But if the only way you can afford this is by taking out a personal loan, it’s probably best to avoid this purchase.
The same goes for small purchases as well. Yes, it’s hard saying, “no” to your kid, especially when they want something. But if they’re begging for a new toy when they have a basket full at home, learning to say no will save you money and space in your home.
Prepare for the Future
Finally, preparing for the future will allow you to enjoy your retirement years without struggling to make ends meet. You can achieve financial success by making smart money decisions in a variety of ways. One way is by contributing to a 401(k) set up by your employer.
If your employer offers a match, it’s best to take advantage of this, as whatever you contribute will be matched by your place of work. If your place of employment doesn’t offer a 401(k) program, you can open a Roth IRA account where you can make your own contributions to a retirement account.
Additionally, if your children are planning to attend college, you can open a college savings account as well. This will make paying for the cost of tuition, books, rent, and other fees more manageable once they graduate high school and attend a college or university.
The Bottom Line
Taking control of your family’s finances is crucial if you want to live a healthy lifestyle without having to worry about whether you have enough money for certain expenses or not. By creating a budget, spending less, getting out of debt, and preparing for the future, you’ll be able to support you and your family without any financial stress.
Identity Magazine is all about guiding women to discover their powers of Self-Acceptance, Appreciation, and Personal Achievement.
We ask that every contributor and expert answer the Identity questions in keeping with our theme. Their answers can be random and in the moment or they can be aligned with the current article they have written. In that way, and as a team, we hope to encourage and motivate each other, thus inspiring you to Get All A’s.
What have you accepted within your life, physically and/or mentally? Additionally, what are you still working on accepting? Now, we’re not talking about resignation, rather stepping into, embraced, and owned.
I have accepted that it is impossible to please everyone. I struggled for years to fit in with what I thought were the cool kids, but in the end, I was unhappy because I felt I could never be my true self.
Today, I now accept that to be my true self, as an individual, means that not everyone will like me and that I can’t please everyone. But I now understand that being myself brings to me the most fulfilling relationships
Appreciation is everything. What have you learned to appreciate about yourself and/or within your life, physically and mentally? On the other hand OR in contrast, are there elements of who you are that you’re still working on appreciating?
I have learned to appreciate my family more, flaws and all. When I was young, my parents had a very busy life and struggled to just make ends meet in our family. As a result, I became resentful that they never spent enough time with my siblings and me.
Now I appreciate them more because they worked so hard for our family, and I am grateful now that I can have a stronger relationship with them as an adult and have a truly fulfilling relationship with them.
Share with us one of your most rewarding achievements in life? Tell us not only what makes YOU most proud but also share the goals and dreams that you still have.
The most rewarding thing I have ever done was when I decided to study abroad in Barcelona for a semester. I really felt like I broke out of my shell.
Being in an unfamiliar place where you can’t speak the language is difficult, but I gained so much confidence in myself that I can achieve my dreams in life. I still have a passion for travel. I would love to become a travel writer one day and circle the globe!